Remembered as a radiant student and dedicated teaching assistant, David Durham, BFA 21, was a recent graduate of Concordia’s Department of Studio Arts. He attended the university’s first Black Graduation Celebration in June and was honoured to be among recipients of the inaugural Black Graduation Award.
“The celebration is the debut of an extremely significant recognition of Black excellence and academic achievement. It reflects an opportunity for a young Black man like me to be seen and heard,” Durham said at the online celebration.
Annick Maugile Flavien, BSc 13, GrDip 15, MA 18, founding coordinator and manager of Concordia’s Black Perspectives Office — which organized the event — recalled Durham’s passion and infectious smile.
“His energy brought meaning to the work that we do at Concordia and inspired a true sense of hope and legacy in us all,” she said. “We were privileged to meet David’s family and saw the genuine pride he exuded from sharing his family with us.” Durham was pursuing a career in the animation industry, both as a studio and independent filmmaker, a role through which he wanted to expand diversity and encourage Black voices.
“I remember David vividly from the moment he came to present his portfolio for admission to film animation,” said Shira Avni, associate professor in the program. “His radiant, kind, positive way with people was immediately apparent, and his artwork was both achingly beautiful and incredibly professional for such a young artist.
“As a brilliant student, visionary filmmaker and a patient, generous and dedicated teaching assistant, his presence gladdened our hallways. My sincerest condolences to his family and to everyone — all of us — who loved him.”
Durham offered advice to the next generation of Black graduates: “Always empower and embolden our voices among those who intend to silence us. It is imperative that we continue to speak up and speak out against institutions that infringe on our values and cultures. Most importantly, always live and be unapologetically Black.”